LeBron James, Cava­liers for­ward

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: Not to be left out of all the triple-dou­ble fun go­ing on in the NBA this sea­son, James has posted five of them in the last 10 games he’s played since the all-star break. He’s av­er­aged 27 points, 12 re­bounds and 9.1 as­sists over­all dur­ing that span, putting the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons on his back as they work through strug­gles re­lated to the ab­sence of Kevin Love. The Cava­liers en­tered Satur­day’s game against the Clip­pers hav­ing won three of their last four games while keep­ing their lead over Bos­ton in the race for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Con­fer­ence at 2½ games.

Back­ground: James is pes­ter­ing Fa­ther Time like the guy at the YMCA who plays an­noy­ingly in­tense de­fense dur­ing pickup games. At age 32 and in his 14th NBA sea­son, James is av­er­ag­ing his most min­utes per game (37.5) since he re­turned to Cleve­land after the 2013-14 sea­son. Rest has be­come a com­mon talk­ing point this sea­son as it re­lates to the four-time league MVP, but even when por­ing over his game with a fine-toothed comb, it’s hard to find cracks forged by the heavy work­load. His field-goal per­cent­age (.524), 3point per­cent­age (.385), re­bounds (8.4) and as­sists (8.9) are all well above his ca­reer av­er­ages, and his scor­ing (26 points per game) isn’t far off his typ­i­cal pace.

Kos­mider’s take: We tend to ex­am­ine James through the lens of what we ex­pect phys­i­cally out of him, even though he has proved time and time again to be a robot in bas­ket­ball sneak­ers pro­grammed for de­struc­tion. The big­ger rest for James came last sum­mer, when he wisely de­cided to forgo play­ing for the United States in the Olympics in Brazil. That toll would have been too much after lead­ing his team for the sixth con­sec­u­tive sea­son to the NBA Fi­nals, where he led the Cava­liers to their first-ever cham­pi­onship. Speak­ing of rest, James will have had plenty of it when the Cava­liers roll into Den­ver on Wednes­day after two days off.

LeBron James, a four-time league MVP, will be bring­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pion Cava­liers to Den­ver on Wednes­day. Tony De­jak, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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